Posted by: Briar Rose | February 1, 2004

Family And Home Life

Introduction

It has often been said, “Manners begin at home.” It’s true – and they begin with you. Girls, no matter how hard your parents may have tried to drill good manners into you, you cannot make manners a part of your life until you realize the importance of kindness and courtesy towards others. That also goes the same for the boys.

Consideration for Others

You probably figured out as a child that you got more of what you wanted when you smiled, or said please and thank you. Now that you are a teen or a somewhat grown up individual, however, more is expected of you. Those bad table manners that your family let slide in the past may now embarrass you in front of your friends or their parents. Now you’re expected to meet and make conversation with a date’s parents or a prospective employer, but no one has ever really taught you how to make conversation with an adult you wish to impress. You can do it! Just remember that etiquette is basically common sense and thoughtful behavior. The rules of etiquette provide you with guidelines on how to act in almost every situation involving contact with other people. They provide a bridge between you and your parents, you and your friends, and between your childhood and your adulthood.

Communicate

If your parents seem “out of it,” it may be because you’ve left them out. Clue them into what’s going on with you in your life, and pay attention to what’s going on in theirs. Notice that the times they seem unreasonable are probably the times they are preoccupied with their own troubles, or when they don’t feel they have enough information about a situation, or don’t understand it well enough to make a decision. If you feel that your parents have treated you unfairly, or that you have been misunderstood, talk about it.

Frankness in a good way and open communication are vital to family harmony. If you have something on your mind, speak up! Often your parents are wondering why you’ve been moping around the house for days…and they may be relived to hear that the only thing bothering you is that you need a raise in allowance. The reverse is also true. If your Dad had been on the edge lately, ask him if it’s something you’ve done or failed to do. You may be relieved to hear that his stress has something to do with something outside the home – perhaps the loss of an important sale at the office.

Airing the problems remains the best way to solve or at least diminish them. Trust me. I have been there and have done that.

Get Organized

You have probably noticed that things run more smoothly when you are organized. Nevertheless, you don’t always feel like being organized. If you want to reduce conflict with your family, though, a little advance planning does help.

Plan Ahead

Your parents may be more willing and able to get the materials you need for a special project, drive you to a special function, or plan a special meal if you let them know further in advance than the night before that there’s a report due on Thursday, a party on Friday, and friend coming over on Saturday. Maybe a weekly “scheduling” meeting with your parents would help. A family calendar hanging in the kitchen is a good idea, too.

Cooperate

The best thing about cooperation is that it goes both ways. If your Dad makes a lot of phone calls for business at night, negotiate times when the phone is available to you. But if you come home from school and use your computer modem to cruise the Internet for a couple of hours, remember that someone else in the family may need to use the phone while you’re trying it up. You may also need to negotiate the times you want to use the television or sound system, or even the times you simply want to be alone for whatever reason: homework, writing in your journal, quite reflection, or an uninterrupted shower.

 

to be continued…

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